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-> Also read our article “Is it Time to Replace Your Wood burning Prefabricated Fireplace?

The fireplace industry considers prefab wood burning fireplaces to have a life expectancy of 10-30 years. Like other household appliances, they just don’t last forever. The good news is that there are many options for upgrading to a better system when it comes time for replacement.

Keep in mind that the fireplace must be removed from either the front facing wall (inside the house), or from the rear.

  • Removal from the rear is usually the easiest method, especially when the fireplace is installed against an exterior wall and the framed chase has been covered by siding. We remove the siding and underlayment to gain access to the inside of the chase. The chimney is normally removed from the top and sometimes the chase is large enough to actually get inside to assist in unscrewing and disconnecting the chimney sections, but it’s rarely this “easy”.
  • Removal from the front of the fireplace opening commonly involves removal of the facing material (slate, marble, tile, etc.) and the mantel, resulting in a bigger mess, greater expense and more work overall. However, if you’ve always wanted a different style – say tiles or granite instead of the old slate or a new mantel — then this is the time to plan out your new look!
  • When it comes time to choose a new fireplace model to install, consider the options available to you. Commonly the original model was a “builder grade” appliance, an inexpensive model wood burning fireplace with minimal features.

New, high-efficiency wood burning prefabs that are manufactured with quality metal, tightly fitting glass doors are available. They are energy efficient combustion designs that provide burn times and heat output comparable to a wood stove. If you still enjoy wood fires then why not consider a high-efficiency model that can help provide substantial heat when needed? This classification of wood burning fireplaces also uses upgraded chimney systems meant to withstand higher temperatures.

White Gas Log Fireplace - Bless Your Hearth - Laurens SC

Gas Fireplaces provide the beauty of real flames without the work and mess associated with burning firewood. Like wood burning fireplaces, gas models are classified as either “decorative” or “heater rated”. Heater rated models have a glass window instead of an open fire, protecting against contact with open flame. Most models also work during power outages, providing excellent backup emergency heat if you’ve chosen a heater rated
fireplace. Unlike wood burning fireplaces where the type, condition or amount of wood greatly affects heat output, gas fireplaces are designed to
withstand a maximum constant heat production so over firing isn’t a concern with this class of appliance. Heater rated gas fireplaces use the gas
more efficiently and transfer that heat to your living space, providing substantial heat when desired. Better models also offer thermostat controls that modulate the flame to adjust the heat output so you’re never too warm or too cold. Direct vent models, which use outdoor air for combustion, provide versatile installation and venting options where a wood burner couldn’t be used such as venting horizontally through an exterior wall.

The expense and labor involved in a prefab fireplace replacement may lead you to consider a conversion or alteration of your fireplace, thinking that “If it’s not safe to burn wood, I’ll just convert to gas.” That’s a great idea, but you can’t take a shortcut here.

CAUTION: ABSOLUTELY DO NOT PUT GAS LOGS into a damaged or deteriorated wood burning fireplace. Vented gas logs require the fireplace and chimney to be suitable for use with wood. If it’s not safe to burn wood, it’s NOT SAFE to use with gas logs, either!

Contrary to popular opinion, ventless (vent-free, unvented) gas logs are far worse! They are designed to allow you to close the damper, keeping the heat produced concentrated in the fireplace. While this may feel like a good idea it’s making more heat right where it’s more likely to cause a problem including pyrolysis of the adjacent wood framing within the wall.

An ELECTRIC INSERT is a very inexpensive option. An electric fireplace is uniquely capable of offering you flames with no heat so you can have a romantic fire in the summer, or use with the heater option when the weather turns chilly. This at least provides you the ambiance of a “fire” with no need to tear anything out. These are surprisingly realistic looking and is an option more and more customers have chosen in recent years. Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth is happy to help guide you through the options for repairing, replacing or possibly just upgrading your prefabricated wood burning fireplace!

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth is happy to help guide you through the options for repairing, replacing or possibly just upgrading your prefabricated wood burning fireplace!-*+

My Gas Logs Work Just Fine; Why Do I Need Service?

Short answer: Dirt, Carbon Monoxide and WaterMy Gas Logs Work Just Fine; Why Do I need Servicing IMG- Spartanburg, SC- Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps (2)

  1. DIRT: They will probably work just fine until they don’t. When the mechanical parts reach critical mass with “dirt”, they may begin to work intermittently or not work at all.
  2. CARBON MONOXIDE: If the gas logs are vented, you will want to know whether the chimney is drafting properly. With a wood fire, you can see smoke (carrying carbon monoxide) entering your home. With gas logs, generally speaking, there is no smoke. Since carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled, improper drafting is less obvious. Regular service can help determine if this is an issue.
  3. WATER: No matter whether your gas logs are vented or unvented excessive moisture issues (whether a by-product of simply operating the gas appliance or from exterior entry) can affect the longevity and operation of your gas log system.

Folks generally fall into two categories around this.

  • There are the proactive folks who want to make sure there is no interruption in their routine, plans or intentions.
  • Others are like, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it” and just wait until something goes wrong.

The only time it becomes irritating or the EMERGENCY signs begin to flash is when family or friends have been invited over for dinner (or some romantic interlude is planned) and now the gas logs won’t work and the intended ambiance is up in smoke (or not).

What can dirty the working parts of gas logs?

• Dust
• Animal dander
• Soot
• Cobwebs

What can the proactive folks do to get out in front of this unhappy malfunction?

Arrange an annual gas log checkup similar to what gets done for furnaces and such.

July or August is a GREAT time to address this. Setting up an appointment during this time of year

  1. Beats the Winter Season Rush (which usually starts in September)
  2. Still allows time to fix anything that requires repair (before the Thanksgiving/Christmas events)

Side Note about Chimney Inspections:

Any chimney associated with the gas logs will also need an annual inspection per National Fire Protection Association Standard. Usually a CSIA CERTIFIED Chimney Sweep/ NFI Certified Gas Technician can help you “kill two birds with one stone”, so to speak.

Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth technicians are CSIA/NFI certified and qualified to help with check-ups and repairs. Call (864-682-5422) or email ( today to set up your pre-season appointment.